UNCLE

He walks the woods no more
this land whose every hill he knows
geodes by the stream
the trail where turkeys file at dawn and dusk.

Right hand upon his dog,
he sits beside the window to watch
the squirrels she used to chase
cache nuts against the coming dark.

A doe, two fawns at clearing’s edge
browse by the lick set out last fall.
Their colors blend with leaves and brush
that hide morels awaiting spring.

His wife is ill. Her malaise named
but without cure. His hips, once limber,
grate now sharply bone on bone.
He lets the dog out, sees her roam.

At his whistle,
she comes trotting home.

Cynthia M. Sheward

DUSTING

It’s us we dust
not some distant rabbit fluff or forgotten flake of stranger.
Our very mitochondria’s cast off about the sofa, table, chair
our entire lair’s alive with microscopic leavings.
It’s our breadcrumb trail back to time remembered or forgot.
Small bits of days from childhood – nights of
watching tiny satellites pass overhead-
the miracle of travel where once only stars and comets
flew – who knew the things to follow – cell phones, laptops
GPS – we know more now by knowing less
but break still in the old, weak spots.

Cells too remain from proms missed and attended
dried orchids hung on curtains
hearts broken and by time mended.
Teenage love songs, Buddy Holly, Elvis
George and Ringo, John and Paul –
the words, key changes, new hair styles
we loved them all.

Flecks too remain from tying sneakers for my son
and knitting Kate a turquoise sweater,
praying daily for my marriage to get better.
Those small children now have babies of their own
and I’m a grandmom with grey hair, cell phone, creped skin.
The scales of aging waltz without and within
toward a place past time and dust.

Published in Evening Street Review, Autumn 2012.

KNOWING THE LIGHT

The way the light falls into my bathroom
each morning in summer
is known to me
deeply
like my name.
I know it better than how to
grow old
retire or
navigate social security.
Its soft presence
from the east, gently,
predictably
lifts me into the day.
It’s only absent in storm
but then still present in a
diffuse way.
Light, more faith than fifty creeds,
daily holds me
in its glow.
Moving is not just a
new baker, grocer, dry cleaner,
a change in the way home,
new paths
to reach old friends,
it’s a shift in how
the world looks when I wake
as I splash
water on my face,
how I see myself
as I prepare
to meet the world.
It’s a change in all I know.
The way the light falls into my bathroom
each morning in summer
is known to me
deeply
like my name.

 

 

Published in Evening Street Review, Autumn 2012.

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LONG LAUGHTER

No laughter resonates
like that of women beyond
need of make-up and reach of girdles.
Ladies for whom wrinkles rank in importance
well below the dog’s recovery from Lyme disease
and driving the neighbor to dialysis.
No humor is quite so funny as old friends’ jibes
about each other’s foibles and failings
or jests about sex more remembered than practiced.
The stories sweeten with each repeat.
No place is safer
than one warmed
by the laughter
of friends.